Saturday, 26 May 2018

Nathan Lang is The Stuntman, The Warren, Brighton Fringe 2018

On the hottest day of the year, Nathan Lang appeared on stage as a whirlwind of high-kicking energy, performing an unlikely sequence of tricks, clowning around with the packed audience and diving through a plastic hoop, all in garish jump suit and crash helmet.

Bathed in sweat, he stripped down to flesh-coloured underpants, with his meat and two vegs amusingly drawn on them, to show off his undoubted acting skills: in a sauna and swimming underwater in a tank, before pulling off his 'first escape'!

He then introduced his 'father' - a brash American stuntman in the Evel Knievel bone-breaking vein, played naturally by Lang himself - whose dramatic demise shocked some of the small children who had crept in (the show was aimed at an older age group). It was to Nathan's credit that he addressed this, putting troubled young minds at rest.

His technician, Brighton standup comic Riggs, filled the room with dry ice, causing hilarity and chaos in equal measure, requiring Lang to throw open the doors to let in some fresh air, much to the amusement of the boozy punters camped on the grass outside.

Nathan Lang is far more than a skilful performer; he's a true entertainer with showbiz running through his veins like vintage wine.

He disappeared into a nook and emerged as a goofy, mad evangelical preacher, proselytising the guffawing audience and healing this onlooker's gammy knee!

As the show ended, in a candid moment Lang admitted he'd been stung by his only Brighton Fringe review - a myopic stinker - and, unusually, encouraged his audience to take to social media to redress the balance, if they'd enjoyed his work. As one we roared our approval.

A brilliantly entertaining and magical show of physical comedy! Don't miss out!


Ollie Wilson
May 2018


Saturday, 3 June 2017

Stuart Black, Brighton Fringe 2017

Stuart Black, Caroline of Brunswick, Brighton Fringe, May 2017

Black by name and black by nature, bar an ethereal complexion on a skinny frame, dressed head to toe in, you've guessed it, black, this Scottish poster boy for Prozac takes us on a conversational rollercoaster through his many brushes with depression and near-misses with the Reaper who is almost a bosom buddy. 

Do you know what happens when you're so depressed you don't wash or shower for six months? Well, you will after seeing this show! 

Stuart admits he has done every drug known to mankind but nowadays makes sure there is a defibrillator within spitting distance as the after-effects have started to feel a bit too real with added heart pounding; at 45 and looking older, he has started to feel a little too old to live like a devil-may-care twenty-something any more. 
Without a first aid tent or paramedic in sight, let alone a pulled pork stall, the Burning Man Festival, South Africa, is a festival too far for this nihilistic comic who appreciates just a small homely touch. 

Stuart regales us with how he almost died following an ill-advised swim off the African coast having done a whole festival's worth of booze and drugs with his best mate.

Amusingly, for someone with an obvious death wish, Stuart worries about his hair falling out as he is just "not ready" to lose it. 

Luckily, Propecia has come to the rescue, but with unfortunate side effects on his nether regions. Will they become his never (again) regions? But on Prozac, will he actually care?   

A cautionary comedic tale well worth the listen from a very proficient performer.


Pelican, Brighton Fringe

Pelican, The Warren, Brighton Fringe, May 2017

This show was a three-hander of juggled anarchic sketches and mayhem from a talented former Cambridge Footlights trio: Sam Grabiner, Jordan Mitchell and Guy Emanuel.

It was loosely bound together by a 1970s TV law drama skit and complicated by the Curse of Catman, which they endeavoured to get to the bottom of - the narrative thread throughout the show.

It is hard to review this convoluted show. The only thing I know with certainty is I laughed until I cried and emerged blinking into the daylight with panda eyes, mocking my "waterproof" mascara. 

I do, however, recall a hilarious sketch featuring a French chef and his monkey cooking up inedible ludicrousness in a top restaurant kitchen which a hapless waiter was then forced to serve up to the disappointed customers - the audience - a great antidote to death-by-Masterchef television. 

Oh, and we all had to throw tennis balls at the stage to kill a family of coconuts. You kind of had to be there! It was a shame that behind the front row, it was hard to see all the action of the show.

These three have the potential to go far, particularly once they lose their Cambridge studenty-ness. Latter-day British Marx Brothers perhaps?


Sagar Mega Drive, Brighton Fringe 2017

Sagar Mega Drive, Caroline of Brunswick, Brighton Fringe, May 2017

Fiona Sagar is an impressionist with a killer line in Pippa Middleton, Rear of the Year and all, a less impressive male rapper wannabe with a dodgy moustache who can only misogynise in the most obvious cliches, and an over-enthusiastic Australian relief teacher with pigtails and a disturbing sense of right and wrong.

There were also a complaining pet dog with an Eastern European accent who might well get you questioning your pet-owning proclivities and a Scottish grandmother battleaxe straight out of the mid-20th century. 

Each quick character change was proceeded by an electronic introduction as if her characters were on a random selection setting, a device which worked well. 

Fiona Sagar is talent who certainly packed a lot into one hour and, although it was a preview show, she only had to consult her notes a few times. Generally, her performance was better than her material, although this is a production that could blossom into a four-star show by Edinburgh.


Southern Fail The Musical, Brighton Fringe 2017

Southern Fail The Musical, Bosco Tent, Spiegel Garden, Brighton Fringe, 3 June 2017

By Ollie Wilson 

For Brighton-to-London commuters on Southern Rail last year, the service provided for them in exchange for their £4,500-plus season tickets was beyond a joke. . . but the Treason Show cast has made a great job of seeing the funny side of it.

Southern Fail The Musical is a popular (the tent was packed) and hilarious pastiche of pop songs with the lyrics suitably doctored (Sailing becomes Failing etc.) to highlight the incompetence of possibly the world's worst railway company, rebranded "Southern Fail" or "Bastard Rail", and was brilliantly performed by Mark Brailsford, Annie Harris and Javier Rasero.

That a cast of three could play long-suffering passengers, chief executives, railway staff, ministers and even the Southern Fail poster boy in a fast-moving sketch-and-song show shows is testament to their great versatility and skill.

They did not quite get the full story, missing out Southern's use of Revenue Protection Officers to persecute unfortunate passengers, their legally untrained prosecutor who tried to criminalise the customers, or the Government's full culpability in taking all the ticket revenue and then washing their hands of Southern when the going got tough, but we can't have everything.

The show did at least have a good old crack at useless Tory minister Chris Grayling.

Brailsford, Harris and Rasero did a remarkable job in turning a hard look at a morally bankrupt company into a fun, sing-along hour and a quarter of unforgettable entertainment.

It was also quite cathartic for commuters, although the Monday train journey still comes around like a bad penny.